What can I do with this old document scanner?

I have an A4 scanner that I rescued from a dustbin; it’s a Mustek 1200UB - USB powered, LED-illuminated 1200dpi flatbed scanner. It works, and the quality of the scanned image is… OK. I just do not require it as a scanner.

So… I’m thinking… there has to be something I can do with it - some way to hack it and turn it into some other weird and wacky device.

For example, inverting it, mounting it on little robotic wheels and making it into an autonomous device that takes pictures of the ground - except that’s a crap idea.

But there must be something I can do with it; I know I could donate it to a worthy cause (and I might end up doing that, if nothing else suggests itself). I want to make a weird thing out of a cheap scanner, but what? Any ideas?

Cover It In Bees!

Actually, that’s nearly a good idea - if it were not so damned slow to scan, it could be be possible to make it into one wall of an ant farm, then set up a computer to automatically scan and post the image of the ant farm to the web.

Use it as security screener for your entrance door? Then only those people whose handprints match the recorded ones are let in. (I have a nice little software for my palm which asks for a thumbprint, but actually is just the trick of holding a button down for “Affirmative”, otherwise it’s rejected; you could wire a similar bypass for people you like. And it doesn’t have to be handprints - if you want to go daring, why not butts? Since it seems to be popular to photocopy ones behind in the office :wink: )

Make a camera! The pictures it takes are really cool. It’s like an exceptionally slow digital camera. Try googling scanner camera for images. They’re pretty sweet.

Am I the only one who was thinking that it should be taken out “Office Space” style?

I’ve heard a lot of people mention Office Space in passing, but I never quite got around to finding our what it is they’re talking about. Anyway, from context, it sounds like you’re suggesting spectacular destruction? That would be a pointless waste, as I have plenty of less-functional junk I could destroy if I felt the urge.

I want to make something functional and… odd. I do like the scanning panoramic camera idea, but I reckon there must be something else a bit more innovative I can do with it.

Make it a toast museum.

On being fired, three employees steal a network printer that has caused them much grief over the years and take it to a field to “teach it a lesson” gangsta/mafia-style - very well done scene.

You Tube video clip


Thanks for that.

Naah, smashing up this scanner seems really pointless, it doesn’t have very many crunchy parts inside - its mostly empty space under the glass.

I wonder if this might work though:

Strip the electronics out of the scanner and rebuild it as a much smaller device with a fixed scanning head that points directly downwards; rebuild the motor drive so that it drives the whole thing forward and back on little wheels, at the same speed the scanner head used to move. The result being a scanner that produces an image by driving across the page - shouldn’t require any reverse engineering of the scanner driver at all.